Dating is hard. Dating with hearing loss? Well, that can be even harder, only because we make it more complicated than it actually is. At least I did. There are many aspects to dating, so I will just start with the basics in this post.
In today’s day and age, you can meet someone in person or online. Regardless of how you meet, the concept is more or less the same:
- Talk to someone
- Go on a date
- Go on more dates
- If things go well, you explore something deeper with them
When I was dating, I had so many questions in the back of my mind when it came to my hearing loss.
When do I disclose my hearing loss? How do I disclose my hearing loss? What if they didn’t like me because of my hearing loss? As I navigated the dating scene, I answered my own questions.
When I disclosed my hearing loss
It depends on your comfort level. For me, I disclosed it at three different times with three different people.
The first time, I met someone at school. We started off as friends, and I disclosed my hearing loss naturally in conversation as our friendship progressed. We ended up dating for a couple of months, but it didn’t work out.
The second time, I tried dating with Bumble, the online dating app that allows women to message first. I was chatting with a person on the app, and after a couple of days, we set up a date. In the days leading up to the date, I was debating whether I should tell him about my hearing loss before meeting up or during the date. I decided to tell him the day before the date. He didn’t respond until an hour before our date. He didn’t acknowledge what I said, cancelled the date and never reached out to me again.
The third time, I was back on Bumble again. I was talking to this guy, and things were going well. We set up a day to meet up. Again, I debated on whether I should let him know about my hearing loss before we met up or after. I was worried that he might judge too quickly and cancel the date, like the last guy. I decided to tell him in person.
How I disclosed my hearing loss
I spent the days leading up to the date worrying.
How do I tell him? When do I tell him? Do I tell him right when we sit down? Do I just somehow try to naturally slide it into the conversation? What if he reacts badly? What do I say if he reacts badly? Is he going to think I intentionally hid it from him?
My mind spiraled with all the possibilities. I worried so much that, by the time the date rolled around, I just got fed up with myself. I decided that If he doesn’t like me because of my hearing loss, then he isn’t right for me.
I met up with him, thought he was cute and we sat down and talked…and talked. I was so interested in talking with him and learning more about him that I forgot what I was worried about. Part way through the conversation, I mentioned my book, and how it was a collection of short stories about my growing up with hearing loss. He didn’t even bat an eye; he just asked some questions about my book and the conversation continued on.
Looking back, it’s funny how, when I was coming up with all the possibilities of what could happen, I never thought about the one possibility where he wouldn’t care about my hearing loss.
What I learned from it all
Looking back, I realized I worried too much. If you have hearing loss and struggle with talking about it during dating…don’t overthink it. The right person won’t care or think that it is a mark against you. Like any other relationship with its own set of unique situations, you will work through it.
If someone doesn’t like it, then they’re not worth your time.